Police maintained barricades and plans for a nighttime curfew as Louisville prepared Saturday for a fourth night of protests after a grand jury declined to charge the officers who shot Breonna Taylor
Early Saturday evening, some protesters were gathering at a downtown park, known as “Injustice Square,” which has hosted demonstrations for more than 120 days over the shooting death of the 26-year-old Black woman in a police raid gone wrong.
Protests Friday night were peaceful but police arrested 22 people for curfew violations. A police spokesman said some also were charged with failure to disperse.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer urged continued peaceful protests in a news conference Saturday evening.
“I’m mindful that many in our community are hurting and angry about the decisions announced this week,” Fischer said. The mayor said he supports protesters’ First Amendment rights to protest though “we just ask you to do that peacefully please.”
Taylor was shot multiple times March 13 after her boyfriend fired at officers who had entered her home during a narcotics raid, authorities said. Taylor’s boyfriend said he didn’t know who was coming in and fired in self-defense, wounding one officer.
On Wednesday, Kentucky Attorney General Cameron announced a grand jury indicted one officer on wanton endangerment charges, saying he fired gunshots into a neighboring home that didn’t strike anyone. That officer has been fired.
Cameron said the other officers were not charged with Taylor’s killing because they acted to protect themselves.
Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, visited a downtown park on Friday with family and her lawyers, and called on Kentucky officials to release all body camera footage, police files and the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings. Palmer said in a statement read by a family member that she felt the criminal justice system had failed her.
On Friday evening, Palmer led a protest march in downtown Louisville.
The grand jury’s ruling weighed heavily on protesters days later.
Amber Brown, who has been a central figure in the downtown demonstrations, said she was angry.
“It feels like we went backward,” she said Friday night. “I think people are still in shock and we’re not sure how to move forward.”
Brown criticized the police crackdown in the downtown area that has been in effect since early in the week.
“People are afraid to exercise their First Amendment right,” she said. “Since when does protest have a curfew? Since when does freedom and civil rights have a curfew?”
Associated Press writer Claire Galofaro contributed to this report from Louisville.